It was heading toward midday; deafening screaming of the Cicada beetles was starting to drive me mad. It was time to get out of the heat. My 30 km mark should be coming up soon. Finally ahead in the distance I could see one of the crew in the road. I slowly walked up to them, the heat had become unbearable, my feet were burning as the heat from the sand was baking through my running shoes. I could feel that they were swollen. I had already learnt In this area there is no way that you can carry running pas 12 midday without risk of heat exhaustion, you have to stop and sit it out.
The crew had found the only shady spot next, but next to a few family huts, not the best option because that meant until sunset you would be harassed and stared at by all in the area and as the bush telegraph gets into action so does the group tend to grow.
Just settling down to rest my legs one of the crew came over to me and asked if I could help a kid who had gashed himself with a Panga while chopping a tree, I obliged, got hold of the Cipla medical kit and went over to him. The cut was a good deep one just below the elbow one and not looking great. I cleaned it and dressed it as best I could, gave him a pain killer and a few vitamin pills and sent a smiling kid on his way. This was only to be the start of a long afternoon as the word began to spread.
The next to arrive was his mother, who lifted her top to exposé two old festering wounds, from what I don’t know; I did my best on this, not pleasant work, patched her up and sent her off happy. Then the line just continued to grow, broken teeth, hair lice, malaria, fever and flu. I was starting to feel out of my depth here as well as my kit was taking a hammering. I called Lava and was told that there was no more medicine now and had to turn the rest away. I felt bad, but I have limitations.
Finally we could settle down, eat and hit the tent to rest for the onslaught of the heat that was to be thrown at us the following day.
It was just before dawn, the bush around us seemed to be coming alive, with a growing bustle of action, there were animal sounds growing from the Kraal and I was under the impression that the goats were grazing around my tent. I slowly woke in the dawn light stretching up I unzipped my tent, stiff and sore I stumbled out to fineds a bush to relive my bladder. Standing rubbing my eye with glazed morning vision I stared ahead, but something didn’t feel right, slowly as my focus zoned in, I picked up shapes, not bushes but people and lots of them sitting around my tent. I didn’t know what was going on and shouted for Lava – groaning he mumbled to me, I called to him again and I think he now picked up my tone. His tent erupted into a frenzy as he tried fighting his way out of the side of the tent cursing I finally heard the zip and his head popped out looking like a giant tortoise his neck twisted up as he stared towards me with a totally dazed expression still not knowing what was going on. He slowly extracted himself from his tented shell.
I pointed at all the folk around my tent. Lava focused at them and shouted out something, no one really said much, one old man just mumbled some thing raising his arm in my direction. Lava burst out laughing and said:
“The word has spread through the night and all these people have come to see Dr. David”.